An Update from our Interim Director
|Sat Oct 01, 2011|
MountainCamp - A Recap and Look Ahead
Although the Autumnal Equinox occurred just a few days ago, Summer 2011 seems like it ended a couple of months back in time. As more and more school districts start classes in early August the camping industry has been forced to shrink their summer season. The Mountain’s last session, Senior High Camp, ended on July 30th. I believe we honored the wonderful traditions and legacy of MountainCamp. Many great memories linger on.
We were blessed with a terrific staff, strong programming, and healthy and happy campers coming from throughout the Southeastern United States. We are confident that with some tweaking of the calendar and focus for each age group, MountainCamp 2012 will be even bigger and better.
Please click here to take a look at the flyer for an early preview of the lineup.
There will be a tuition discount for early-bird registrations that are received by March 30th so we encourage you to start making your plans now. If you would like to have our Youth Program Coordinator, Beth Witte, visit your congregation this winter to promote MountainCamp, please give her a call to discuss at 828-526-5838 ext. 252.
The Mountain Peace Garden
We all owe a real tip of the hat to former staff member Brian Gifford for his determined effort to establish an educational gardening program for The Mountain. Brian’s vision for the “Many Hands Peace Garden” has gained traction in just two years. We now have a well-established flock of laying hens, a greenhouse for seed propagation and tomato plants, active composting of food scraps and a one-acre garden plot out in the “cabbage patch” that greets every visitor upon arrival.
Helen Chananie has been our dedicated and resourceful Garden intern this year. Helen’s green thumb has produced bushels of delicious veggies that have been harvested, prepped and served for our guests and staff to enjoy. Many lovely vases of flowers have also graced our dining hall tables. Helen has also been instrumental in integrating the garden into our volunteer program and MountainCamp. Over two hundred young people have had a realistic, hands-on introduction to the rigors and joys of growing your own food.
The garden has helped to reduce our food costs, lower our carbon footprint, improve the taste and freshness of our meals, and inspire many people to “shop local and grow your own.” Again, many thanks to both Brian and Helen!
Thanksgiving Family Celebration
You are invited to join us for a fun, relaxing, memorable holiday. We suggest you bring the grandparents, the favorite aunts and uncles, and of course, all the children in our extended family to The Mountain to celebrate this Thanksgiving with gratitude and joy. Each evening will feature some of the greatest talent around, from wildlife photography to music, folk-lore wisdom and storytelling. Days will be leisurely or active, with workshops, baking lessons and outdoor activities available.
Friday night, after Lee Knight’s concert, will be a true Mountain Cabaret hosted by our own Chris Watkins, singer-songwriter and Young Adult in Residence. Bring your voice and/or musical instrument and sharpen your performance skills. Registration is now open, and there is an early-turkey discount for adults if you register before October 15th.
Click here to look over the flyer to see what we have in store for this holiday celebration.
Annual Fund Alert
We hope you have received our Annual Fund appeal. Personalized letters were mailed first class on August 16th to all our Members and Friends of The Mountain. The early response so far has been wonderful, but we hope to hear back from the rest of you as soon as possible. The 2011 budget should be close to break even if we are able to generate $750,000 in Program Revenue and $250,000 in Development Revenue.
If, by chance, you have not received our letter and you would like to make a gift in support of The Mountain programs, you can make a charitable donation online at www.mountaincenters.org. Please contact Christy Kelly at 828-526-5838 ext. 230 if you have any questions or would like to discuss your giving options.
Visioning for the Future
Even in the midst of our day-to-day operating demands and financial challenges, we are trying to keep an eye to the future. Our efforts today do ensure the ongoing sustainability of The Mountain, but with your help we can continue to direct and shape the kind of organization we want to become. Thanks to all of you who have responded to the constituent survey this summer. We also want to acknowledge the wonderful input offered by our Members through the Appreciative Inquiry focus groups.
The Board’s Institutional Performance team is tabulating all of this data, as well as using the guest evaluations we receive after each retreat group to help inform this process. You can look forward to a summary report later this fall. Again, we value and appreciate all of your feedback, hopes and aspirations for The Mountain!
In Mountain community,
Lee Reading, Interim Director
© 2013 The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center. All Rights Reserved.
P.O. Box 1299
3872 Dillard Road,
Highlands, NC 28741